August 21 Black Business Chamber President Sherman Ray was invited to be part of a roundtable discussion, which included Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza, SBA District Director Joseph Amato and some of the largest financial institution heads in the Las Vegas valley.
The meeting was convened by the local SBA office and the Whitehouse in order to get a report on how small business and the Las Vegas community were doing after the first round of Paycheck Protection Program assets were distributed.
Among the Banks were notable representatives from U.S. Bank, the President of Nevada State Bank and Bank of Nevada. Each of these representatives engaged in a lively hour long discussion on how to improve and augment the PPP program to make it more effective for SMB’s.
One of the main highlights of the discussion, which was closed to the public and reports, was a discussion on secondary facilitators. Possibly a public/private partnership to help facitiltate the distribution of the mega-spending Bill introduced by the White House.
During the initial rollout of the program larger institutions not only accessed the funds but were able to navigate the often complex paperwork required to get PPP funding. This complexity, according to banking interests, created a backlog of applications and warranted substantial human capital in order to process the loans.
This was a part of the process banking interests wanted to avoid if a second PPP funding program were to be implemented. Bankers felt if anything needed to be addressed, this would be front and center stage.
Lastly, minority-owned businesses were hit worst as a result of a global business shutdown. An estimated 40% of all black-owned businesses most likely will never reopen as a result of the shutdown. It is vital that the remaining viable businesses are able to locate cash in order for them to keep their doors open.
Secretary Carranza encouraged the attendees from the Las Vegas Chamber community, which included the Urban Chamber and The Black Business Chamber of Commerce special attention would be placed on facilitating the processing of PPP funds to minority businesses.
BBCC President, Ray ask during the Q&A session how would the administration encourage members of the black business community to apply for PPP funding if a second round of funding were to take place. The answer from the Administration was to renew efforts by lenders and the chamber community to be active community partners in getting the word out about available funds.